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What is a Referring Domain in SEO?

“Referring domain” may be a familiar term for small business owners with SEO knowledge. However, it’s possible that they are not fully aware of how it can be beneficial to their website.

We are here to discuss what exactly a referring domain is and how it can improve a website’s SEO and success.

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What Is a Referring Domain?

Understanding what a referring domain is in SEO is essential in keeping a website’s high ranking in organic searches.

Basically, a referring domain is a website that generates backlinks directing visitors to another site. Backlinks, on the other hand, are incoming hyperlinks from a referring domain to a site.

It is natural for a website to have multiple backlinks from a single referring domain.

The more of these organic backlinks that can be generated, the better the performance you'll get out of your small business website in the long term.

These organic backlinks from high authority sources will be seen as credibility boosters to your brand and should increase your organic traffic as well as the quality of those organic visitors.

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So how do you get more high-quality backlinks? Check out this post to learn techniques that will improve your backlink profile.

The difference between a referring domain and a link can be explained by the following examples:

  • Example 1: Website A has a backlink that directs to Website B. Website B also has backlinks coming from Websites C, D, and E. This example shows that Website B has multiple backlinks from multiple referring domains (Websites A, C, D, and E).
  • Example 2: Website A has multiple backlinks directing to Website B. This example shows that Website B has multiple backlinks coming from a single referring domain (Website A).

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Why It Is Important To Know the Difference Between Referring Domain and Backlinks?

A vast majority of websites do not get traffic from Google because of the lack of backlinks and referring domains. This is why it’s crucial to know the difference between the two.

The number of referring domains vs backlinks is important for determining if a website would rank higher in search results.

A website with multiple backlinks and very few referring domains is considered a red flag for search engines such as Google.

Google would penalize the website because it would assume that the backlinks are artificial and may be a part of a paid linking scheme.

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Seems easy. Just buy a bunch of backlinks and make sure they come from a ton of different websites, right? Wrong. If you buy backlinks in bulk, you're asking for trouble. It's called link scheming and Google explicitly states that it's a bad idea.

The ideal scenario for a website is to have a good ratio of referring domains and backlinks. This means getting high-quality backlinks — not just from a few but from multiple referring domains.

It’s important that the referring domains are authoritative websites. The main focus should be getting high-quality links from trusted websites. This sends signals to search engines that the website contains premium content that should be displayed in the search results.

Tips on Getting High-quality Referring Domains

There are some tips that can help you get backlinks from authoritative referring domains.

First would be analyzing the referring domains report. Evaluate the list of links and domains provided in here. Check the quality of the domains linking back to your website. You can do this by going to Google Search Console and looking under the "Linking" section.

Another tip we would suggest is to produce quality content. The more valuable and useful the content is, the more likely it is to get links from authoritative websites.

The phrase “content is king” still holds true today. And if you're looking to write engaging content, make sure you know where to start.

Now that we have discussed the importance of referring domains and its difference from backlinks, you are now equipped with useful SEO knowledge.

If you want to evaluate your current roster of referring domains, you should get a complimentary, helpful, and guided website assessment from Agency Jet!

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